Penny is thrilled to make the 79-mile drive to Austin, Texas, where she’s about to begin her freshman year of college—far away from everything she’s been itching to leave behind. Sam runs a coffee shop near her new campus and lives in the shop’s storage room upstairs. He has plans to become a documentary filmmaker, but first, he has to figure out how to put his past behind him.
When Penny and Sam meet, they swap numbers in case of emergency. But soon they find themselves texting nonstop, growing closer to one another than to the friends they see in real life. But will Penny and Sam’s digital-only relationship be enough to help them through some of the toughest transitions they’ve ever faced?
At first glance, Mary H.K. Choi’s first novel is a lighthearted young adult romance. But dig a little deeper, and her bubbly prose reveals a poignant slice-of-life story built around a diverse group of vulnerable characters dealing with complicated issues. Though the narrative voice feels sprawling and occasionally forced, the character voices crackle as Sam, Penny and their friends relate to each other in a sharp, witty way that readers will recognize and enjoy. Emergency Contact is a bittersweet peek into the lives of two teenagers who come together in the right moment to help each other deal with life’s curveballs.